RealTime IT News

Is Digital Publishing Taking Off?

The whole concept of digital publishing took a major step forward today as Amazon.com did an eBook deal with Adobe Systems Inc. and rival online bookseller Barnes & Noble.com signed an online content agreement with MightyWords.

Amazon.com.'s deal with publishing software company Adobe adds the Adobe Acrobat eBook Reader software to its e-book store and adds nearly two thousand Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) based e-books. The move reportedly doubles the number of e-books available at Amazon.

Meanwhile, Barnes & Noble.com said its partner deal with MightyWords, a seller and distributor of original content, expanded its selection of digital material by offering for sale thousands of articles that can be purchased, downloaded and printed out.

The new Barnes & Noble.com Articles for Download store features eMatter, a term coined by MightyWords that describes mid-length articles on business, computing, health and other professional information categories.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. MightyWords content is secured using encryption that is compatible with the free Adobe Acrobat Reader, versions 4.0 and greater.

Amazon and Adobe said that over the next 12 months, they plan to extend the alliance to Amazon's international sites in France, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom.

Financial specifics of their deal were not disclosed, but Adobe apparently will collect a fee for each title sold. The news sent Adobe's stock up $3.37 in early trading to $39.20. Amazon was up nearly 10 percent to $12.27 as it climbed for a second day.

Until now, Amazon had offered only the Microsoft e-book reader.

Customers at Amazon.com's e-book store can now download the Acrobat eBook Reader free. Content options include material from META Group and articles from the Harvard Business Review; travel-related e-books and graphical children's books in color such as "Barney Is It Time Yet?" (iPicturebooks).

"By teaming with Amazon.com, we will give consumers worldwide a graphically rich, interactive eBook reading experience with the added ability to print content," said Michael Looney, senior director of e-books at Adobe. "Mobile professionals and students in particular can leverage these benefits "

Adobe has a similar arrangement with Barnes & Noble.com, which has been selling books with the technology for a several months.

Some analysts feel that e-books may have a difficult time catching on, but Adobe is clearly making a major push for its network publishing concept.

Also today, the San Jose, Calif.-based company delivered WML Suite for Adobe GoLive 5.0 software, developed through an alliance with Nokia. The WML Suite allows developers to author content created for wireless devices. It provides a graphical user interface within GoLive showing an onscreen emulator of Nokia WAP enabled phones.

And it released the new Adobe Streaming Media Collection -- comprised of Adobe Premiere, Adobe After Effects, Adobe LiveMotion and Adobe GoLive. Also unveiled was the Acrobat Reader for the Palm OS platform, in beta.